The 7 Best Whey Protein Powders

Should I take Whey Protein?

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading my complete guide to whey protein. I want you to understand the pros and cons of whey and how it compares to ‘real’ foods.

I feel strongly that protein powders are an incredibly effective way to enjoy your diet and improve your nutrition.

Chocolate whey protein in a glass
Chocolate whey protein powder – a complete form of protein

Protein is an essential building block. Training hard without good quality protein is a complete waste of time. You won’t build as much muscle. You won’t recover as fast and you’ll start treading water quickly.

Good quality whey is a fantastic, fast-acting product that will improve your athletic output.

Whey is the best protein powder. Period. If you’re not vegan or lactose-intolerant you should be taking it!

What’s the Best Type of Protein Powder?

There are 3 main types of whey protein powder:

  1. Whey protein isolate
  2. Hydrolysed whey protein
  3. Whey protein concentrate

Whey protein isolate typically has the highest concentration of protein per 100g, which makes it the most effective in terms of protein consumption per gram.

But it’s typically the most expensive.

Hydrolysed whey protein is more easily digestible than isolate, but it doesn’t contain quite the same concentration of protein.

Concentrate is the cheapest, but typically the lowest quality.

If you’re a beginner, it doesn’t really matter which of the below types of protein you use as long as you are getting an adequate amount of protein and amino acids from easily digestible, high quality protein sources.

Honestly I just go for whichever I deem the best value as long as the product tastes good – because that helps me stick to a diet – and has a high enough concentration of protein.

Around 80% + works for me.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey is one of two types of protein found in milk (casein being the other), created as a byproduct of the process transforming cow’s milk into cheese.

It’s a high quality protein source that can contain all essential amino acids your body needs.

Years of experience and testing mean that whey protein has a huge advantage over every other protein type right now. If you’re considering a protein powder and don’t pick whey, you’re instantly at a disadvantage.

Honestly the worst thing is the difference in taste. Whey is by far and away the best tasting protein supplement.

Do you need Protein to Build Muscle?

Yes. Unequivocally yes. When we eat protein, our body breaks it down into amino acids. There are 21 amino acids and 9 essential ones our bodies cannot produce and must be taken in from food sources or supplements.

Shirtless Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold getting into it

These amino acids are literally the building blocks of life. Essential for recovery, protein synthesis and muscle building, a diet without protein leads to a pathetic set of pecs.

As an active weightlifter or bodybuilder, around 1.3 – 1.8g per kg of bodyweight is ideal for muscle building and recovery.

Splitting this out into 4-5 meals every 3-4 hours creates the optimal conditions for protein synthesis. Leucine (and all the other essential amino acids) should have a position of prominence in your diet to create the optimal muscle building environment.

How many Protein Shakes should I have a day?

Well that depends. Annoying answer I know, but bear with me.

Good quality whey is an incredibly effective protein source – usually a complete one, which means it provides all 9 essential amino acids your body can’t produce.

So 30-40g of whey protein taken at one time will stimulate protein synthesis and prevent your muscles entering a catabolic state (although that seems unlikely).

But whey protein doesn’t have the nutrient profile that good quality meat or even other whole foods have. So having more than one protein shake a day is probably overkill.

I would stick to 20-25% of your overall protein intake coming from whey. 2 scoops a day is ample.

As an 90kg powerlifter, your body needs sufficient protein and caloric intake (alongside nutrient dense foods) to optimise recovery and growth. Somewhere around 120 – 170g should do it.

Of course all this depends on how active you are and what your goals and overall caloric intake is at that time. Are you looking to gain muscle or lose weight?

Gaining weight means you’ll want a higher overall calorie intake. But once you’ve hit a certain amount of protein, there’s no real benefit to adding more. Use carbs and fats and enjoy them.

If you’re looking to lose weight, you’ll still want to keep your protein high enough to maintain muscle mass.

And whey protein shakes are a really effective way to do so. 

The 7 Best Whey Protein Powders

Protein Powder Cost Protein Type Protein Quantity Average Rating Shop
My Protein Whey Isolate ££ Isolate 87.6% 4.4
Pulsin Whey Isolate ££££ Isolate 93% 4.8
Reflex Micro Whey ££££ Isolate 85% 4.7
My Protein Impact Whey ££ Isolate 76.9% 4.4
Bulk Powders Organic Pure Whey £££ Concentrate 80% 4.8
ON Gold Standard £££ Isolate 82.5% 4.4
Dymatize ISO-100 £££ Isolate 86% 4.5

To work out the above table we not only (deliciously) taste every powder on the list, but we also scour the web from at least 5 review sources for each bar.

We then average the score whilst factoring in our own opinion. Labdoor and Consumer Lab provide accurate and best in class reporting. 

Best Whey Protein for Weight Loss?

I don’t feel it’s ever justified to purchase diet whey powders. They just have a slightly lower protein content and additional ‘superfoods’ or fake weightloss supplements.

Being in a calorie controlled diet is the only surefire way to lose weight. And protein is incredibly effective at maintaining muscle mass in a depleted environment.

So the best protein for weightloss would have an incredibly high protein content, taste good (important in a diet) and have at least 5g of BCAAs / serving (ideally half of which leucine).

Dymatize ISO-100 is the top product here. High protein count, tastes great and full of BCAAs.

But a special mention should go to Pulsin’s whey. It would win if it wasn’t unflavoured!

Best Whey Protein for Weight Gain?

If you’re looking to gain weight, then you need more than just protein. If you’re serious about it and feel like you need supplementary assistance, then you should look at mass gainers.

If you’re keen to stick with one of the below proteins, then I would shoot for My Protein Whey Isolate or Reflex Whey given the high protein concentration and product quality.

My Protein Whey Isolate

My Protein impact whey isolate

With a cracking array of natural flavours and excellent mixability and protein content, My Protein Whey Isolate should be high up anyone’s list for good quality whey.

Taste Mixability Best Flavour Average Rating Shop
Creamy 4.7 Natural Chocolate 4.4

Pulsin Whey IsolatePulsin whey isolate

Whilst the unflavoured nature of it may put some people off (myself included), the exceptional protein quantity and naturally led ingredients make Pulsin’s whey one to plump for.

Taste Mixability Best Flavour Average Rating Shop
Natural 4.1 Unflavoured 4.8

Reflex Micro Whey

Years of expertise and simple, but effective flavours make Reflex’s whey absolutely exceptional. Perfect for those of you who can’t choose between the traditional 50 flavour options.

Taste Mixability Best Flavour Average Rating Shop
High quality 4.5 Banana 4.7

My Protein Impact WheyMy Protein impact whey

Another brilliant option from My Protein. Similar flavour profile to the above, mixes just as well and a little easier on the wallet. My Protein’s Impact Whey is a super smooth source of protein.

Taste Mixability Best Flavour Average Rating Shop
Smooth 4.6 Rocky Road 4.4

Bulk Powders Organic Pure Whey

Bulk Powder’s flavour profile for their whey is 10/10. Something for everyone, especially those who love their whey to have a pudding like taste. I highly recommend the tiramisu – a pudding with 32g of protein!

Taste Mixability Best Flavour Average Rating Shop
Natural 4.6 Tiramisu 4.8

ON Gold Standard

Long-term favourite Optimum Nutrition has created a really top quality whey protein. My favourite flavour array on the market, I can’t recommend the vanilla creme highly enough.

Not the very best for mixability or protein content, but it’s right up there.

Taste Mixability Best Flavour Average Rating Shop
Like Pudding 4.3 French Vanilla Creme 4.4

Dymatize ISO-100

Orange Ice Cream, Birthday Cake, Fudge Brownie… Incredible flavour list. If you’re after something a little different, then Dymatize ISO-100 is awesome.

Mixes well, tastes great… Add this to the almost 87% protein count and you know we’re onto a winner.

Taste Mixability Best Flavour Average Rating Shop
A Creamy Intrigue 4.5 Orange Ice Cream 4.4